Tuesday, 26 October 2010
The right economic approach for Labour
There's plenty of gloating about a leaked internal document from Labour (£) where insiders recognise that the party lacks economic definition yet and needs a clearer approach to tackling the coalition cuts. Such gloating is premature. If anything it suggests a degree of real understanding about the potential weakness of the party at a time when it has just overtaken the Conservatives on today's Populus poll but growth figures are better than predicted by a gloomy city (albeit down on Labour's last quarter). And that is a good thing. Labour needs to box clever not only the economy - where it has failed to allow a narrative to emerge that blames the party for the size of the deficit and ignores the penury into which millions of savers would have fallen had Labour allowed the banks to collapse as George Osborne advised - but also on health and education. A first step in doing so is recognising one's weaknesses. A second step, which some frontbenchers including Alan Johnson and Douglas Alexander on welfare have already recognised, is to fight the coalition strategically and not wholesale. The third one is having the right policies for the next election. So, embarrassing though this leak may be, it is a sign that the party is not retreating into an opposition comfort zone. That approach needs to be followed through across the front bench - without the leaks, perhaps.